And then there were the lessons learned by our group, interpersonal insights that came from the ways we navigated our own tensions and conflicts. As a collection of folks committed to shared goals back in Chicago, our purpose was not just to see new sights but also to deepen our bonds with one another.

We learned about how each other came to the work we do, as well as some of the obstacles and opportunities we have faced along the way. And we learned to face new challenges together.

At key moments throughout the trip we committed ourselves to sitting in circle, and to processing the group dynamics that were unfolding. We offered support, confrontation, and feedback, all in a spirit of genuine concern. Having the courage to speak our truths to one another was, for many of us, one of the most valuable dimensions of the journey. When things grew especially trying, this honesty was the force that kept our universe expanding (and thus kept our balloon from popping).

Honest loving feedback was the energy that propelled our wild ride and, now that we’re all back stateside, it’s this same energy that will keep us moving forward, outward, and beyond.

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